Strategic Planning: Developing Our Vision For Our Future

headshot of Dean Graham wearing glasses, a white button down shirt, a red tie, and a gray suit jacket

Clark School Friends and Supporters,

Organizations need a bold vision and a clear understanding of their “why:” it creates a sense of purpose; helps to communicate what they value and the goals that advance it; and galvanizes and builds community. In January 2023, we started a strategic planning process to define the A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Vision for 2030.

To create alignment with the university’s strategic plan, we divided our work into five pillars: 

  1. Mission, Vision, and Values; 

  2. Research and Innovation; 

  3. Reimagining Learning; 

  4. Investing in the Clark School Community; and 

  5. Partnerships to Advance the Public Good. 

Our goal is to maximize our ability to shape our future, drawing from faculty, staff, and students for inspiration. Today I want to share a few thoughts on Partnerships to Advance the Public Good through our ongoing community engagement.

We at the University of Maryland are fortunate to be part of a rich, vibrant, and diverse community in the state of Maryland. As a land grant institution, our mandate is to serve the population of the state which includes racial, gender, and socioeconomic diversity that exists across Maryland. This is why I am proud that the Clark School is actively engaged in places like Prince George's County, Southern Maryland, Shady Grove, Baltimore, and Frostburg in addition to College Park. 

We have faculty and staff who are invested in K-12 activities and summer programs to help promote STEM and build a pipeline to engineering. We need a diverse talent pool to address the workforce needs of tomorrow. In Southern Maryland, for example, our new MATRIX Lab is developing a program to provide robotics and autonomy education for local schools, including a STEM summer camp, while also offering degree programs in engineering to local students. We offer a training program for our state’s teachers in renewable and sustainable energy, better equipping them to prepare students to address our country’s challenges in these areas.

Our commitment extends internationally. Researchers from our Robert E. Fischell Institute for Biomedical Devices are developing a new generation of low-cost surgical tools for low- and middle-income countries with an initial focus in Uganda. We also recently launched a new digital railway center with partners in Japan and the Netherlands to improve the future of railway transportation by engineering new methods for cybersecurity and safety.

While we are proud of the many engagements we have, the question still remains: what should be our strategic targets for the next 6–7 years? Who do we partner with to accomplish transformative change in our community? Our strategic planning will help identify more of these types of opportunities and strategic partners, allowing the Clark School to impact society in new ways and improve the human condition. Through effective partnerships, we open doors with greater potential to solve society’s grand challenges.

The Clark School is fortunate to have outstanding faculty, staff, and students working with committed collaborators who share our values. Our location puts us in a unique position to draw upon those connections for the public good.

Through our strategic planning process, we will sharpen our focus, communicate our “why,” and develop a clear vision for 2030. As our strategic planning progresses, I am looking forward to your participation to help define our future!

Samuel Graham, Jr. (he/him/his)

Dean and Nariman Farvardin Professor

Published May 4, 2023